Tuesday 23 March meeting “Thursday’s Collective” by John Boteler & “Unnaturally Ivor” by Ivor Porter

“Thursday’s Collective” by John Boteler & “Unnaturally Ivor” by Ivor Porter


John delighted us with his tales and photographs of the ‘Thursday Collective’, an ad hoc group of members who – Covid restrictions permitting – go out on a Thursday seeking that perfect shot and breakfast, plus tea and cakes. In summer it means a 5.30 start and John showed us his early morning fisheye lens shots from the car window and even the sunroof. Breakfast featured heavily, so did the seaside and so did Dennis the Menace, John’s alter ego.


The ‘Thursday Collective’ do regular visits to the annual Stowe Horse Fair and John showed numerous shots of the people and horses of the fair. One shot of a woman sat in her traditional gypsy caravan won John the first prize in the photography competition organised by Oxford Brookes University and the Oxford Mail in 2014.


John’s alter ego got him lots of wonderful shots that most of us would never attempt but also got him thrown out of a shopping mall and threatened by a painter from a great height. He is a keen collector of cameras and wherever the ‘collective’ takes him he will go to second-hand shops to seek out old cameras while also clicking his camera for some good internal shop shots. He also buys his camera equipment off members of the ‘collective’ – Steve and Dave – when they upgrade.


The presentation was studded with great landscape shots of places that John momentarily could not recall and needed members of the audience to reminded him. He also expanded his repertoire and showed images of the garden, wildlife and intentional camera movement, offering us a glimpse of what may be his next presentation. Looking forward to that one.


Ivor was next but had a problem with sharing his screen. After numerous suggestions from the audience his neighbour and zoom knight in shining armour, Matt, dropped by and pressed the magic button and we were good to go.


Ivor promised us a different side of his photography with neither fur nor feather. However, he did allow himself to start with a few of his favourite images. The first was three giraffes in the mist which a judge gave just 9 out of 20 saying it was ‘contrived’; in fact it was a straight shot. He also showed a spectacular shot of a dew bejewelled teasel, which Ivor had not been sprayed with mist, plus a back-lit baboons playing, low-key white ibis in flight and two bald eagles fighting.


Lockdown had forced Ivor to concentrate on images close to home and to be creative with what was around him. He showed a series of impressive high-key images of flowers from his garden shot using a light box as background and light source.


Ivor has been four times to Yellowstone National Park, twice in winter and twice in summer. It is his favourite place. He showed stunningly beautiful abstracts of colours through clear streams. These are caused by the chemicals thrown up from below the surface due to the underground hydrothermal plumbing system. In winter it is extremely cold and the vapour in the air freezes when it falls on any surface. Ivor showed shots of eery looking plants totally covered in ice crystals.


On the high plateau in winter the snow blankets the huge open spaces leaving lone trees in the landscape. There used to be a camera club judge nicknamed Jim the Trim because he was always obsessed with trimming photos he was judging. With Jim the Trim in mind Ivor enter a club competition with one of his ‘lone tree in expansive snowscape’ shots – and it won.


Ivor also showed his shots of remembrance Sunday on a bright sunny morning, also a series of shots of the Calvary Stampede and ended with examples of ‘subjects in their environment’ shots. Jim the Trim would not have approved of these as the subjects were small in the frame, however the point Ivor was making was that there shots worked because of this.


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Oxford Photographic Society